Young smokers, beware! You are under threat from thrush

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Out of the frying pan, into the fire – that’s how one could describe 25-year-old Bandra resident Priya Menon’s situation. The infotech professional, who took to smoking to rid stress, never imagined that puffing away on cigarettes would cause thrush – a fungal infection in the mouth.

Menon is among a growing number of young professionals in the city who’re lining up at dentists’ with this problem.

In layman’s language, thrush is an infection of the mouth and throat, which is caused by a yeast-like fungus. A person with thrush has whitish patches in the mouth – on the tongue or on the inner walls of the cheek, say medical experts.

Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by a fungus called candida. The infection is not restricted to the mouth alone; it can also develop in other parts of the body if ignored inthe early stage.
A worrying trend, say dentists, is that cases of oral thrush, which were otherwise common among children, are now been increasingly found among youngsters.

“Five years ago, if oral thrush cases numbered four in 100 patients, we now get at least 15 such patients,” says aesthetic dentist Dr Karishma Jaradi from Dentzz dental care centres in the city.

There are many factors that can lead to oral thrush, says Dr Jaradi. “Among the most common reasons are heavy smoking, alcohol consumption, a weak immune system and stress. We’ve noticed a rise in smoking-related oral thrush cases besides patients with stress,” she added.

At the out-patient department of one of the biggest dental colleges in the city’s, Government Dental College, every day, patients with oral thrush cases number between 20 per cent and 25 per cent on an average.

“The number of cases is definitely rising but stress is a major reason, not smoking,” says dean of the college, Dr Mansingh Pawar.

A poor and sedentary lifestyle among youngsters makes them vulnerable to thrush, says Dr PD Joshi, a consultant dentist at Lilavati hospital, Bandra. “The chances of infection can be mitigated if the patient maintains good oral hygiene, cleans the tongue regularly, eats more fibrous food and refrains from consuming junk food,” said Dr Joshi.

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